Health technology assessment (HTA): ethical aspects

Med Health Care Philos. 2009 Nov;12(4):453-7. doi: 10.1007/s11019-009-9206-y. Epub 2009 Jun 9.


"HTA is a multidisciplinary process that summarizes information about the medical, social, economic and ethical issues related to the use of a health technology in a systematic, transparent, unbiased, robust manner. Its aim is to inform the formulation of safe, effective, health policies that are patient focused, and seek to achieve best value" (EUnetHTA 2007). Even though the assessment of ethical aspects of a health technology is listed as one of the objectives of a HTA process, in practice, the integration of these dimensions into reports remains limited. The article is focused on four points: 1. the HTA concept; 2. the difficult HTA-ethics relationship; 3. the ethical issues in HTA; 4. the methods for integrating ethical analysis into HTA.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration
  • Health Care Rationing / ethics
  • Health Care Rationing / organization & administration
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Policy Making*
  • Primary Prevention / ethics
  • Primary Prevention / organization & administration
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / ethics*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / organization & administration*